Team Hammer kicked off a new era of motorcycle road racing in the United States in spectacular fashion this weekend in Austin, Texas. The new MotoAmerica series opened for business on the biggest stage imaginable, sharing the spotlight with the superstars of the MotoGP World Championship at the Circuit of the Americas. Long-time AMA standout David Anthony made the most of that opportunity, securing a podium result in his first-ever ride with M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki.
The Australian put his GSX-R600 on the second row, qualifying in sixth position with a time of 2:14.983.He then demonstrated his mastery of changeable conditions in Saturday’s race, battling up to third in the Supersport season opener despite treacherous rainy conditions that caught out a number of front-runners.
“The weather was changing,” Anthony explained. “It was a raining a little bit, and then it was raining a lot. It was very different conditions from one part of the track to another part of the track. With the water coming down, we had some little rivers out there and everything. It was very inconsistent, the conditions out there.
“This is the first time being out on the Supersport bike in a long time. We ran Superbike for quite a few years now — as long as I can remember. To jump in on a different program… everything is different for me. I’ve never ridden for a team like this before. It’s just totally different, so to be out there and get the result and be on the podium… what more could I ask for?”
Anthony entered 2015 coming off a breakthrough Superbike season in 2014. He scored the first premier class podium result of his career, and then backed it up with another runner-up result en route to fifth in the final championship standings. Now he finds himself with the added of advantage of being able to rely on the experience and expertise of his M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Suzuki crew, which allows the talented racer to focus solely on his riding as opposed to the daily concerns of also running his own race program.
Anthony explained, “I’ve always had a good team around me, but when you’re the man in charge, it makes it a bit hard. You’ve got to think about other things, and it’s not just riding the bike. Now it’s my job to ride the bike; that’s what I do. I can put everything into training. I’m a motorcycle racer now, not a team owner. Before this, I was always a team owner first, motorcycle racer second. So far I’m liking it. We were pretty close in the dry. So either way — wet or dry — I think we would have been pretty close. Moving forward, we’re definitely looking to get some more podiums.”
Teammate Melissa Paris also picked up three positions on her qualifying position in the race. After qualifying 16th at 2:23.913, Paris came home in 13th position in the ’15 season opener.
There’s no time for Team Hammer to catch its collective breath; the 2015 season picks right back up next weekend (April 17-19) at Road Atlanta in Braselton, Georgia, for Round 2.
This year marks Team Hammer’s 35th consecutive season of operating as a professional road racing team. During that time, racebikes built and fielded by Team Hammer have won 59 AMA Pro National races, have finished on AMA Pro National podiums 137 times and have won five AMA Pro National Championships, (the most recent in 2012), as well as two FIM South American championships. The team has also won 133 endurance races overall (including seven 24-hour races) and won 13 Overall WERA National Endurance Championships with Suzuki motorcycles, and holds the U.S. record for mileage covered in a 24-hour race. The team also competed in the televised 1990s Formula USA National Championship, famously running “Methanol Monster” GSX-R1100 Superbikes fueled by methanol, and won the F-USA Championship four times.